What precisely is this pastoral or spiritual care to tourism?
by Fr. Ralph Kleiter
I have come to realize that intentional travel can become a symbol to the pilgrim for the meaning of life, expressing in a physical way a deep interior longing of the soul to find its true destination. In other words, the journey, whether by land, air or sea, reflects the journey through life; the physical destination suggests the eternal destination. Not unlike a good retreat, people can experience, in a good travel journey, a pivotal moment in their spiritual life.
Although over the years I have been limited to offering only a few such experiences annually, I am now in a position to begin expanding this ministry more broadly, as envisioned by the Holy See's Pontifical Council responsible for tourism.
A Ministry to Tourism must have an outreach to those who travel - locally, nationally or internationally. It must be at their service, so that they will be sensitive to being responsible tourists. Secondly, we must become sensitive in appropriately receiving visitors. The receiving communities must provide a service through welcome and hospitality. In this way, it will teach the community to be a witness of hospitality and charity. Finally, a Ministry to Tourism is to be of service to those who work in tourism. It is my hope to establish good presence, and to dialogue with those in the travel and hospitality industries. Small group associations of these people could be the first step.
"Ministry to Tourism" envisions "The Church serving travelers today" by fostering various small groups, either in preparation for future travel experiences, or afterwards for integrating a past travel experience.
In short, small groups can gather:
- to share travel experiences and observations
- to design future travel programs from one day excursions to several weeks
- to learn how to make travel ventures better, enabling them to be a true source of personal enrichment
- to prepare people for a particular travel venture
- to build a fellowship/community among those desiring more "intentional" travel (i.e. travel with a purpose.)
- to develop "tools" to integrate travel experiences into life's journey (e.g. Journal-keeping, reflection handbooks)
- to develop the skills in making such activities a prayer
- to share pertinent information for travelers, and to provide input on proposed destinations (i.e. brochures, newsletters)
- to enjoy presentations on travel (e.g. films, videos, slide lectures)
- to have most meetings offer a study and prayer/reflection component
- to provide socializing events (e.g. international foods, entertainment, wine tasting etc.)
- to foster opportunities for ecumenical exchange
- to be part of unique travel events where participants help create the itinerary
- to be part of a variety of travel programs which are tendered exclusively for participants at preferential rates.
- to help people design their individual or group travel programs during retirement or family life.
- to be a voice of advocacy in situations which need attention in the travel industry. to develop a contemporary spirituality which stresses the inter-connectedness of our body, mind and spirit. That is to say, to integrate the human and spiritual into everyday life, including leisure activities.
- to stimulate awareness of this new ministry in the Church Any others? Please pass them on to us.
Our Logo contains the ancient Christian symbol of the fish representing most people in our western civilization. The circle represents our world.
When a Christian is in the midst of the modern world, he or she calls forth the gifts of the Spirit, creating a new life and hope for today and tomorrow. When life's voyage takes us into the circle of the world through the investment of intentional and reflective travel we can discover the Sacred and become more fully alive.
Rev. Ralph Kleiter
Director: Ministry to Tourism
Phone: (306) 244-3747
Fax: (306) 374-1208
Email: kleiter [at] shaw.ca
Associated with: SINFONIA/MYTRAVEL
Phone: (306) 934-5306 (Rhonda)
Fax: (306) 652-0990